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SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose State University is pleased to announce that Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties will be the recipient of the 2018 Community Partner Award in recognition of its support to Spartans as they seek to positively impact the campus, region and world. Over the past two years, Second Harvest has provided $430,000 in groceries to thousands of SJSU students.

San Jose State and Second Harvest are preparing to open SJSU’s first permanent food pantry. The Spartan Food Pantry will look and operate much like a neighborhood market with one major difference: Everything inside will be offered at no cost to all eligible students.

“When San Jose State University learned that approximately half of our students are skipping meals to make ends meet, we knew we had to do something big,” President Mary A. Papazian said. “SJSU would like to thank Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties for working with us every step of the way as we prepare to open the Spartan Food Pantry, which will ensure our students have what they need to prepare nutritious meals while completing their studies.”

Second Harvest will receive the award at San Jose State’s annual Inspiration to Innovation gala, a fundraiser to be held October 18 at The Event Center at SJSU. This year’s gala will focus on eliminating food insecurity among SJSU students.

Sponsors include Cisco Systems, Edgeman Coaching LLC, Executive Edge of Silicon Valley, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the Iwata Family Foundation, Arthur Lund and Agnieszka Winkler, Constance Moore and Roger Greer, Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp, San Francisco 49ers, Sphere 3D, and Zenefits.

The foundation of a healthy, productive life

“Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties is honored to receive the 2018 Community Partner Award from San Jose State University,” Second Harvest CEO Leslie Bacho said. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to expand our services and to provide vital support to SJSU students because nutritious food is the foundation of a healthy, productive life.”

The gala will be held one day after the SJSU Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change’s town hall focusing on the 50th anniversary of the moment students Tommie Smith and John Carlos took a stand for human rights at the 1968 Olympics.

“The town hall and gala will celebrate the role the San Jose State University community has played in seeking innovative approaches to social justice issues,” said Paul Lanning, vice president for University Advancement and CEO of the Tower Foundation of SJSU. “Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties’ commitment to supporting SJSU as we prepare to open the university’s first permanent food pantry is yet another example of the innovative work under way here.”

Many food banks were born of efforts to eliminate poverty and racial injustice during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. The Food Bank, Inc. of Santa Clara County was formed in 1974, and incorporated as a non-profit agency in 1979. In 1988, the San Mateo County Food Bank merged with The Food Bank, Inc. of Santa Clara County to become Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.

A modern grocery store, with one major difference

The Spartan Food Pantry will be located inside the newly renovated and expanded Diaz Compean Student Union, a central location near many student services. The 1,000-square-foot space will offer fresh produce, fresh and frozen meats, milk, bread, canned goods, personal hygiene products and more arranged in coolers, freezers and shelving much like modern grocery stores. The doors are slated to open this academic year.

San Jose State wishes to express its gratitude to the California State University Chancellor’s Office and supporters of Senate Bill 85, through which SJSU will receive $130,000 to ensure students have access to the basics they need to persist and earn their degrees.

“The time has come for a permanent food pantry at San Jose State University, and we could not have asked for a better partner than Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties,” Vice President for Student Affairs Patrick Day said. “On behalf of the entire SJSU community, including those who have been working hard for years to address this basic human need, I would like to thank everyone at Second Harvest Food Bank.”

A community committed to ending food insecurity

San Jose State began addressing food insecurity in 2008 by distributing $10 gift cards redeemable at campus eateries. A committee of faculty, staff, administrators and students has been meeting ever since to formalize efforts, including studies and solutions such as the Associated Students of SJSU Community Garden, an @SJSUFreeFood Twitter handle, and small food shelves in various departmental offices throughout campus.

San Jose State and Second Harvest Food Bank began working together in 2015, when Second Harvest helped train SJSU officials on CalFresh registration for students. In October 2016, SJSU and Second Harvest introduced the Just In Time Mobile Food Pantry, offering fresh produce, refrigerated and frozen groceries, and high-quality, shelf-stable foods on a monthly basis at no cost to eligible students.

About San Jose State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San Jose State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 250 areas of study – offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San Jose State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing 10,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 260,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area. 


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